This is the Life issue

How to Be Happy, No Matter What

Is there such thing as a guide to happiness? Here are some simple changes that could transform your life. Aristotle said that happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence. Today, examples of just how important happiness is to us are apparent across the world. In Bhutan a happiness index is used to measure national progress, in America the pursuit of happiness is a fundamental right protected by the Declaration of Independence, and in Denmark the government places more emphasis on social capital than generating wealth, contributing to the country’s enviable position as the happiest country in the world. But the unintended consequence of all this focus on happiness is that we become hyper aware about whether we’re happy or not, which paradoxically can make us sad that we aren’t happier. For millennials, who are particularly plugged into this global obsession through social media channels, the problem can be particularly acute. So just how do we cut through all the chatter and get down to the business …

Don’t Put that On Your Face: A Closer Look at the Toxic Ingredients We Use Every Day

One woman’s story about how harmful ingredients in children’s personal products inspired her to make a change. Abby Songin has always considered herself a healthy person. Her parents encouraged her local shopping habits and meal preparation techniques from a young age. “I had a general idea of what was good for my body and what clearly was not,” Songin says. She takes her fitness seriously; she played basketball at an elite level and received an athletic scholarship to Canisius in Buffalo, New York. After graduating, she played professionally in Germany for a year. Then she returned home and started a family. The mother of two found herself raising young kids at a time when the terms “natural” and “organic” were growing in popularity. And as she looked to instill strong nutritional values in her children, she started paying more attention to ingredients on other items on her shopping list, such as shampoo, lotions, and makeup. It wasn’t just what she was applying to her own skin that frightened her; it was the toxins she started …

How a Makeover Made Me Feel Beautiful Again

It’s not everyday you win a makeover on the Marilyn Dennis show. How one lucky experience launched a transformational journey in both body and spirit. It all started with a picture. For several years I had been the one at events being in control of the camera and taking pictures.  As the photographer, I was able to control what appeared on Facebook and could hide my body. This also meant that I could try to hide my weight gain of fifty-four pounds over the past three years. The problem was that during one summer weekend in at a cottage in 2015, I wasn’t the only photographer. “Smile Sarah” said my sister as she snapped my picture. Little did my sister know that I had spent three years being very careful about how I appeared in pictures. The entire time I had successfully avoided any photos being shown or printed of my body. Quickly, I used my arms to try to cover my body and forced a fake smile on my face while she took the …

#YoungerMe: You Are One in a Million

Dear 18-Year-Old Me, You are one in a million. Believe that. I want you to know that being yourself is essential to your happiness. You will change, you will grow, and while others (even those close to you) will doubt your ability to do so, soldier on. Prove everyone wrong. The next 10 years will bring more changes and more challenges than you could ever imagine. Embrace your younger years, but keep moving forward. With that said, I leave you with these words: Keep writing. You have loved writing since you were old enough to put pencil to paper. Do not take your passion for granted. Use it to express yourself in all kinds of ways. Use it in your personal life. Use it at work. Writing is an invaluable skill you can always improve upon. Write even when you don’t want to. Most importantly: KEEP EVERYTHING. Your diaries, notes between friends, school projects, and musings on scrap paper are precious. They’re part of you. Let love in. You are going to experience loss in …